Israel's new-generation Ofeq-7 surveillance satellite was launched into low-Earth orbit on 11 June using a Shavit launcher from the Israeli air force's Palmachim airbase near Tel Aviv, and successfully transmitted its first images three days later.

Developed by Israel Aerospace Industries, the 300kg (660lb) satellite is equipped with a multi-spectral optical payload produced by Elbit Systems' Elop subsidiary and is intended to boost the Israeli military's ability to use space-based intelligence systems.

Israel is, meanwhile, expected to launch its first synthetic-aperture radar intelligence satellite - Tecsar - later this year, while a dedicated military communications satellite is also in the last phases of approval. Built by IAI's MBT division and to carry a sensor developed by the company's Elta subsidiary, Tecsar will provide long-range intelligence-gathering services.

Source: Flight International